Brian Massumi

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Brian Massumi
Born 1956
Era 20th- / 21st-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Poststructuralism, radical empiricism
Main interests
Virtual, affect, micropolitics

Brian Massumi (born 1956) is a Canadian social theorist, writer and philosopher. Massumi's research spans the fields of art, architecture, political theory, cultural studies and philosophy. He is widely known for his English-language translations of recent French philosophy, including Jean-François Lyotard's The Postmodern Condition (with Geoffrey Bennington), Jacques Attali's Noise and Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari's A Thousand Plateaus.[1]


He received his Ph.D in French Literature from Yale University in 1987. Massumi emigrated to Canada from the United States in 1988, and is currently teaching at Université de Montréal, in the Communication Sciences Department. Massumi has taught and lectured internationally at Cornell University (2010),[2] European Graduate School (2010),[1] University of Helsinki/Turku (2009),[3][4] Goldsmiths', University of London (2008)[5] and University of California, Los Angeles (2000).[6] In 2009 / 2010 Massumi was a Senior Scholar in Residence at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University.[7] Massumi is the author of Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation (2002) and Semblance and Event: Activist Philosophy and the Occurrent Arts (2011) among other books. He is editor of The Politics of Everyday Fear (1993) and A Shock to Thought: Expression After Deleuze and Guattari (2002).

Massumi’s current research is two-fold: the experience of movement and the interrelations between the senses, particularly in the context of digital art and technology; and the emergent modes of power associated with the globalization of capitalism and the rise of preemptive politics. Massumi collaborates with Erin Manning,[8] Director of the Sense Lab,[9] a research-creation laboratory affiliated with Hexagram: Institute for Research/Creation in Media Arts and Technology[10] in Montreal. They co-edit a book series at MIT Press entitled Technologies of Lived Abstraction and are founding members of the editorial collective of the Sense Lab journal Inflexions: A Journal for Research-Creation.[11]

Works as author

Work as editor


  1. 1.0 1.1 Brian Massumi Faculty page at European Graduate School. With biography, bibliography and links to web resources. Retrieved: May 13, 2010.
  2. Thought into Motion: The Energetics of Abstraction. Cornell University. April 29, 2010. Plenary lecture for the Society for the Humanities public workshop, "Critical Mobilities: Thought, Culture, and Performance." Retrieved: September 26, 2010.
  3. Negotiating freedom in art, culture and media. Regulated Liberties. 1st Rethinking Art Studies (REARS) Conference. University of Turku, Finland, August 20–22, 2009. Retrieved: September 26, 2010.
  4. Technologies of lived abstraction. Workshop with Franco Berardi, Bracha Ettinger, Erin Manning and Brian Massumi. Helsinki / Turku. August 22-20, 2009. The workshop series is part of the Guattari Master Class. Retrieved: September 26, 2010.
  5. The Society of Molecules: Massumi and Manning on Guattari. Goldsmiths', University of London. April 25, 2008. Prof. Brian Massumi and Dr. Erin Manning, chaired by Dr Luciana Parisi. Retrieved: September 26, 2010.
  6. The Parable of the Cave. Talk by Brian Massumi at UCLA. April 17, 2000
  7. Senior Scholar in Residence at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University. Retrieved: September 26, 2010.
  8. Erin Manning. Retrieved: May 13, 2010
  9. Sense Lab. Retrieved: May 13, 2010.
  10. Hexagram Retrieved December 11, 2010
  11. Inflexions: A Journal for Research-Creation. Retrieved: May 13, 2010

External links